Matt Diaz

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For the U.S. Navy officer, see Matthew Diaz.
Matt Diaz
Matt Diaz 2012.jpg
Tenure with the Atlanta Braves
Outfielder
Born: (1978-03-03) March 3, 1978 (age 36)
Portland, Oregon
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 19, 2003 for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Last MLB appearance
May 18, 2013 for the Miami Marlins
Career statistics
Batting average .290
Home runs 45
Runs batted in 226
Teams

Matthew Edward Diaz (/ˈd.əz/ DY-əz; born March 3, 1978) is an American former professional baseball outfielder. He played in Major League Baseball for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Kansas City Royals, Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins.

Amateur career[edit]

As a two-year starter at Florida State University, Diaz helped lead the Seminoles to two College World Series appearances, including the 1999 title game vs. the University of Miami. He was named the Sporting News man of the Year in 1998, and a First Team All-American (American Baseball Coaches Association, National Baseball College Writers' Association) in 1999.

Professional career[edit]

Tampa Bay Devil Rays[edit]

He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 1999 Major League Baseball Draft in the 17th round.

Diaz signing autographs in 2012

Despite being among the Devil Rays' minor league career leaders in hits and extra base hits, Diaz had a tough time in the majors, hitting only .167 in 30 at-bats in his two years with the Devil Rays.

Kansas City Royals[edit]

After being released by Tampa Bay, Diaz signed with the Kansas City Royals where he hit .281 with 10 extra base hits (including 1 home run) and 12 RBI in a backup role in 2005.

Atlanta Braves[edit]

On December 19, 2005, Diaz was traded to the Atlanta Braves for minor league pitcher Ricardo Rodríguez. Diaz earned a backup outfielder spot for the Braves during spring training. Appearing in 124 games, including many starting assignments in the second half of the season, Diaz batted .327 in 297 at-bats. On August 14, 2006, Diaz had four hits for the second straight day and tied the National League record with ten straight hits. He grounded out in the 9th inning to end the streak.

Diaz had his first career two-homer game on August 29, 2007, against the Florida Marlins. On September 5, he hit a three-run walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth to give the Braves a 9-8 win. Diaz finished the season with a career-high .338 batting average in 124 games.

Pittsburgh Pirates[edit]

Matt Diaz hitting against the Houston Astros

In December 2010, Diaz agreed to a two year, $4.25 million contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.[1]

Second stint with the Atlanta Braves[edit]

On August 31, 2011, Diaz was traded back to the Braves for a player to be named later. Pittsburgh also sent cash to the Braves in the deal.[2] On August 13, 2012, the Braves announced that Diaz will have surgery on his thumb and will miss the rest of the 2012 season.

New York Yankees[edit]

On December 26, 2012, Diaz signed a minor-league contract with the New York Yankees with an invitation to Spring Training.[3] He was released on March 17, 2013.[4]

Miami Marlins[edit]

Diaz was brought up by the Miami Marlins from their Triple-A affiliate New Orleans Zephyrs on May 2, 2013.[5]

Retirement[edit]

On Feb. 4th, 2014 Matt Diaz announced his retirement from professional baseball.[6] On April 24th, 2014 Diaz joined the Braves pre-game and postgame telecast of Braves Live on Fox Sports South, which he will do regularly for the 2014 season.[7]

Personal[edit]

A born-again Christian, Diaz and his wife Leslee have three kids, Nathan Everett, Anna Grace, and Matthew Jacob. His brother is contemporary Christian singer Jonny Diaz. His surname has an Anglicized pronunciation which originated with his grandfather who had emigrated from Barcelona.[8] He grew up in Lakeland, Florida.

Quotes[edit]

  • On not being an everyday player: "[A] lot of people would think about the money they're not making if they don't play every day, but we all make enough money."[9]

Matt Diaz is the center of a viral video of him getting heckled by a New York Mets fan. He was heckled for wearing two different socks, and Diaz responded by showing the fans behind him the variation in color. This video is evidence that Matt Diaz is one of the few players to interact with fans, showing his true colors of sportsmanship. [10]

References[edit]

External links[edit]